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Kathy Gambrell

Kathy Gambrell
House conferees chosen for defense authorization bill 

A House-Senate conference on the fiscal year 2005 defense authorization bill got under way a day after the House leadership chose the members who will work to reconcile the two versions of the measure.

The conferees gathered for a full committee meeting on Sept. 29. Sources on Capitol Hill told The DAILY that members would try to reach agreement before the presidential election.

9-11 bill would take OSD out of funding loop 

Intelligence community-revamping legislation being considered by the House Armed Services Committee would remove the secretary of defense from the funding loop between the White House budget office and federal agencies.

The committee met in a markup session Sept. 29 to work on H.R. 10, legislation proposed in response to the recommendations recently made by the 9-11 Commission.

Lawmakers call on Bush to aid Navy shipbuilding 

In the latest reaction to U.S. Navy budget plans, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and a bipartisan delegation of congressional members urged President Bush to reconsider a proposed reduction in the number of ships slated for construction in fiscal year 2006.

In a Sept. 28 letter, the lawmakers argued that the Iraq war has required the highest naval deployment since World War II and underscores the need to expand the sea power fleet.

USCG awards contract for underwater robots 

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded a $451,000 contract to VideoRay LLC of Exton, Pa., for five underwater surveillance robots to conduct underwater hull inspections.

Company spokesman Erick Estrada told The DAILY that the contract would provide for five video remote devices with different accessories to enable the service to examine hull damage on vessels.

Silent Hammer exercise scheduled for Oct. 5-14 

Naval Sea Systems Command's Undersea Technology directorate (SEA 073) is on track to conduct the Silent Hammer exercise next month, according to Navy officials.

The exercise is scheduled to take place Oct. 5-14 off the coast of San Diego.

Silent Hammer will involve the simulated launch of an unmanned aerial vehicle from a submarine (DAILY, July 12). It is also intended to show how networked special operations forces can fill gaps in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and time-sensitive strikes.

Sen. Collins voices concern over Navy budget proposal 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she is concerned about reports that the U.S. Navy has prepared a budget proposal that should decrease funding for shipbuilding in fiscal year 2006.

Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter late last week to Navy Secretary Gordon England, saying, "I am concerned about reports that the Navy has prepared a budget proposal that would erode our current fleet force structure."

LCS design work would continue if program delayed, LM says 

The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) would continue to undergo design refinement if funding for the program is delayed a year, but Lockheed Martin officials said it could be difficult to retain its design team if lawmakers halt appropriations for the surface combatant.

Navy must look at requirements, not ship numbers, analysts say 

Defense analysts said the U.S. Navy likely will not be able to afford a 375-ship fleet and will have to consider vessel requirements over quantity to more effectively address future combat threats.

"They need to focus on capabilities-based planning. The fleet of the 21st century is heterogenous, with the biggest difference being mix of weapons [aboard]," said Col. Robert Work (USMC-Ret.), an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

U.S., Spain continue joint ship qualification trials 

Crews of the Spanish navy frigate Almirante Juan De Borbon (F-102) and the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG-91) continued the second joint combat system ship qualification trials (CSSQT) last week.

NAVAIR awards BAE Systems $6.6M modification contract 

Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) aircraft division awarded BAE Systems Applied Technologies of Rockville, Md., a $6.6 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for shipboard communications systems.

Under the agreement, NAVAIR can exercise an option for technical and engineering support services for the development, procurement, integration, testing, installation and certification of shipboard communication systems.

Senate committee approves $112M in MEP funding 

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $112 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a network of centers that provide technical assistance to small manufacturers.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Maine Republicans, said in a statement that the MEP has bolstered the economy in their state and helped retain and create jobs.

Naming of defense conferees delayed by 9-11 bills 

The House leadership has not yet named the conference committee members for the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill, and the introduction of intelligence reform legislation early next week may further delay the appointments, according to the House Armed Services Committee staff.

It had been expected that the conferees would be named shortly after lawmakers returned to work Sept. 7 after the August recess, with work on reconciling the bill with the Senate version getting under way soon afterward.

Committee urges Bush to pursue MANPADS diplomacy 

Legislation passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee encourages President Bush to pursue diplomatic efforts to limit the proliferation of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and seek their destruction.

Potential Navy cuts 'foolish,' Lott says 

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the former Senate majority leader, said he will try to convince his colleagues to ignore U.S. Navy proposals to slash funding for ship construction.

"These proposed shipbuilding cutbacks aren't official policy yet, but just the whisper of something as foolish as gutting our naval shipbuilding capacity or transferring skilled shipbuilding jobs overseas is enough to get this senator riled up," Lott wrote in a weekly column sent to newspapers.

Report: Corrosion no factor in KC-135 readiness 

Operational readiness for the U.S. Air Force's KC-135 aerial tanker fleet has been reasonably steady and corrosion has not been a major contributor in cases where adverse trends have been observed, according to a review by the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA).

The findings were part of a summary analysis of the material condition of the KC-135 aerial tankers, which is part of the debate on whether they should be replaced with new Boeing-built tankers or other aircraft.

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